This post was written in response to a number of posts I’ve seen within a specific community surrounding the writing of one fairly popular (though still independent) author. I’m not going to mention the name or anything, but it is an author I happen to enjoy…though seemingly not to the same extent as others.
I love books.
I have loved books since I was a little kid, a love further nurtured by certain members of my family. My mother had a pretty sizeable collection of paperbacks available for me to pilfer and my father had a nice assortment as well. Horror and mystery were my first loves, to some extent because those were the things most readily available to me and most likely to capture my interest.
It started simpler than that, of course. Book fairs at my elementary school always left me disappointed, because there were always more books that I wanted but that we couldn’t afford. I, at a more naive time, honestly believed that it was reasonable to expect that I could collect all of the books from The Hardy Boys series as a child.
It grew and expanded from there.
I was devouring books by Dean Koontz and Stephen King with regularity before I’d even reached middle school.
Hell, I received multiple personal pan pizzas from Pizza Hut just by reading The Stand (unabridged) when I was in 6th grade, and that was only one of many books I read that year.
In 8th grade, I was introduced to H.P. Lovecraft by a friend who was also on the football team with me. It was that same year when I started reading the fantasy novels from Terry Brooks. Not much later than that, I read Frank Herbert’s Dune, inspired by recollections of seeing the movie when I was much younger.
I guess I mostly just wanted to point out that reading has always been one of my greatest joys. It was important to get that part out of the way.
That being established, I cannot wrap my head around seeing literally dozens of people talking about reading the same series of books for the third or fourth time (or being on their third or fourth listen to the audiobooks of the same series). That’s almost cult-like to me, when that is time I could spend reading a new and different book (or listening to the same). No one author has written anything so spectacular that I would read the same book from them multiple times within a four or five year period. Most books I can’t even bring myself to read a second time at all.
Am I the weird one here?
Is it normal to just devote oneself to a particular series of books and repeatedly immerse yourself into those books at the exclusion of others?
Even as an author, I actively promote and encourage the reading of other authors I enjoy and admire. I wouldn’t want people sitting around and reading my books over and over again when they could be exploring other stories, maybe even stories that I found a great deal of pleasure in reading.
I guess I just don’t get it.
I can’t understand it at all.
There are movies and television series that I’ve watched numerous times, but most of those later viewings are just to have something on that I enjoy for background noise while I work on something else (often reading a book)…or to share the experience with someone else who hasn’t previously experienced the same pleasure I have, and I’m hoping to capture some of that initial joy vicariously through their experience. There is also the fact that a movie only eats up a chunk of a couple hours while (at least for me) reading even a moderately-sized book can take four times that long.
It feels weird to me, interacting with members of a literary appreciation community who repeatedly brag about being on this number of read-throughs and so on. I feel like I’m losing the capacity to relate to these folks beyond a very limited scope.